By Ben Ramanauskas
Greece has found itself in a modern day tragedy of Homeric proportions. However, this is a tragedy which is both very real and which has no heroes. There is no Achilles or Odysseus ready to save the day, only villains and victims.
Whether it’s previous Greek Governments who borrowed and spent far too recklessly, or the cunning investment bankers who helped them to hide their debt, or the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the German Government who – quite rightly – want their money back but have now pushed Greece to breaking point with their demands, or even Syriza whose tough talking, rhetoric and brinkmanship have made things even worse for the Greek people. All of these parties are villains, or at best, tragic anti-heroes.
In the midst of it all are the victims- the Greek people. The Greeks have been betrayed and lied to by successive Governments which have borrowed recklessly and have peddled the myth that wracking up excessive amounts of debt to allow Greece to live beyond it’s means is acceptable. The Greek people now suffer under a Government whose brinkmanship and inability to grasp the reality of the situation, has brought Greece to it’s knees.
The only way that this modern day tragedy will end is if the Greek people, the EU leaders and the IMF have the imagination and bravery to implement a radical plan. First of all, Greece needs to leave the Euro. There is no way that Greece can continue to stay in the monetary union while it is, for all intents and purposes, bankrupt. Although it will be tough for a few years, Greece needs to leave the Euro and return to the Drachma if it is to have any hope of recovery. If Greece does return to the Drachma then it’s currency will be devalued, making imports much more expensive. However, it’s exports will be very cheap, making it a much more competitive country with which to do business. Furthermore, it would make for very cheap holidays, therefore boosting it’s tourism industry.
However, a return to the Drachma alone will not be enough. Instead of blaming the rest of the world for it’s predicament, Greece needs to abandon the failed policies of Socialism and instead rediscover the virtues of living within their means and a tax and regulatory system that attracts foreign capital and encourages domestic enterprise. This can only be achieved if the Greek people finally wake up and grasp reality, and if the EU and the IMF are prepared to help Greece to implement these changes.
There is no Achilles or Odysseus coming to save Greece. The Greek people and Government need to face facts, grasp reality and leave the Euro. It will not be easy, but it is Greece’s only chance.